Police offer advice on avoiding disturbing the public

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – After getting chips, drinks and other Super Bowl party necessities in order, don’t forget about keeping the noise down for your neighbors.
Outdoor bursts of joy after the touchdown, squeals of happiness after the game is over and keeping the party going with loud music could all be considered disturbing the peace.
It’s easy to pick up the phone and call the police when the noise on your street is out of control, but disturbing the peace is not always a simple complaint for police officers to enforce, said Tupelo Police Maj. Jackie Clayton.
Clayton said when looking into disturbing the peace reports, police try to handle them on a case-by-case basis instead of dealing with them under one uniform rule. What’s too loud for some may be just right for others. But a usual rule of thumb for police is if it can be heard clearly from your house to someone else’s, then it’s disturbing.
“What can be called disturbing the peace varies for a lot of reasons,” said Clayton. “If a person is playing his music loud at 5 p.m., then it may not bother his neighbor. But if he does it at 2 a.m., it could be a problem. We just ask people to use common sense and know that what they are doing in their house can affect others around them.”
Clayton said if a police officer pulls up and can hear the noise before he gets out of his patrol car, then the noise is probably too loud.
Being in your own home does not exclude you from being accused of disturbing the peace.
“You have the right to do what you want to do on your own property to a certain extent,” said Clayton. “But you also have to be considerate of those around you.”
Most of the time when a police officer responds to a disturbing the peace call, only a warning is issued. In fact, a warning is usually issued the first two times. But the more the problem persists, the greater the chance of a citation being written.
“We are not just going to go in and write a citation if someone has been reported for disturbing the peace,” Clayton said. “We will try to work with the person as much as possible to prevent from having to do that. The caller also has to realize that everything is not disturbing the peace. You can’t call the police just because someone is having a party and you don’t like it or if you don’t like their music.”
Disturbing the peace is not limited to loud music. It can be a television, door slamming, an argument and a wide range of other things.
If you want to report someone for disturbing the peace and don’t want your name used, tell the dispatcher that when you call.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.

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